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Pros and Cons of High Foot Arches

Many people have feet with very high arches. The medical term for having a foot with a high arch is cavus foot. With this condition, an extremely large amount of one’s weight is positioned over the balls of the feet as well as the heels during walking and when standing. Development of high arches can happen at any time during one’s life and may occur in both feet or in only one foot. In some cases, this condition may be a structural defect that has been inherited or it can often be caused by some type of neurological disorder. However, there are many other medical conditions that may also cause high arches, such as:

• Cerebral Palsy
• Polio • Spina Bifida
• Muscular Dystrophy
• Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease
• Stroke

It is very important to obtain a precise diagnosis. The essential cause of developing or having high arches vastly delegates the future path of treatment. If some type of medical condition or a neurological disorder has caused cavus foot, it is most likely that the progression will worsen. Those cases that are not a result of a neurological disorder, however, may never have a change of appearance. .

Cavus Foot Symptoms

When a person suffers from high arches, there may be only a few symptoms or there may be a multitude. The arch will clearly appear to be high in a person suffering from cavus foot. Additionally, there may be some of the following symptoms as well:
• Pain sometimes severe in nature when walking or standing.
• Frequent ankle sprains caused by the instability of the foot where the heel inwardly tilts.
• Development of calluses on the heel of the foot as well as on the side and ball of the foot.
• Claw toe or toes that may be clenched as a fist.
• Hammertoes or toes that are bent and will not straighten.
• Dragging of the foot as a result of foot drop which is caused by muscles in the ankle and foot that have become very weak. This symptom is usually related to some sort of underlying neurological disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment

To obtain a diagnosis, a physician will first want to closely study the family history of the individual. A consultation with a surgeon will usually be arranged allowing for full examination of the foot. Additional testing will more than likely take place to evaluate muscle strength, pattern of walking, and the observation of coordination. The limb as a whole will be examined if there is suspicion of the presence of a neurological condition. Further examination of the individual’s shoes may be needed in order to study the wear pattern. Often X-rays will be ordered and a neurologist may be needed to perform a thorough neurological evaluation. Once an affirmative diagnosis has been made treatment of either a non-surgical or surgical type may begin. Often treatment may be as simple as the application of devices that are custom made to stabilize as well as cushion the foot. Custom orthotics may also be needed in order to assure the ankle is supported and that wider heels provide stabilization. Braces are often used as a means of keeping the ankle and foot stable.

Some Pros of Arches

That are High With all the above cons of having high arches, we find very few pros to name. Many find however that with high arches there is added beauty to the feet. Ballet dancers claim that their success and talent has much to do with having arches that are high as this helps to enhance their performance. Those with high arches find it much easier to find proper fitting athletic shoes as most manufacturers tend to market a wider variety of footwear for this type of arch. Scientifically, it is found that those with high arches have a lesser chance of the development of arthritis than those with flat feet. This usually develops into degenerative joint disease which ruins the joints and is severely painful.
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